I unequivocally condemn the police storming of Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem and military strikes by the Israeli authorities on Gaza. These brutal attacks would be deeply worrying  at any time, that there has been such an escalation of violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is particularly reprehensible.  I want to see all parties in this conflict uphold international law, as well pursue peace, justice and freedom for everyone living in Palestine and Israel. As the occupying force and a nation that wields virtually unparalleled military power, Israel must bear overwhelming responsibility for de-escalating this situation  - I also call on those firing rockets from Gaza to desist.

The devastation wreaked on worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, reports that access to medical treatment is being blocked and the air strikes on civilians in Gaza, provide yet further evidence of the Israeli government’s utter disregard for international law - and it’s my view they need to be held to account for what would seem to constitute war crimes. We have seen the UK recently impose sanctions on individuals associated with human rights violations in China and action with regards Israel in this respect is long overdue.

The context for this latest attack is the advancement of continued settlement and expansionist policies by the Israeli government and systematic human rights violations of Palestinians, which many are starting to define as apartheid.  Last month I wrote to the Minister for the Middle East to ask him to take a stand on forced evictions in East Jerusalem. This attack further underscores the urgent need for an immediate end to the sale of all military equipment/hardware to Israel.

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